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Ferries and Ferry News from Ireland
No Need to Whine as Autumn Shopping Breaks Continue to Cherbourg
#FERRY NEWS – Despite this week's final Irish Ferries seasonal-only sailing on the Rosslare-Roscoff for this year, the operator provides a service to Cherbourg, where Autumn Wine / Shopping Breaks are available to the Norman city that has four wine…
Ferries Great and Small during Cork Harbour Open Weekend
#FERRY NEWS – Coinciding with Cork Harbour Open Weekend, will be the regular departure today of Brittany Ferries 'flagship' Pont-Aven (2004/41,748grt). The cruiseferry which features an indoor swimming pool, is scheduled to depart later this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore. The…
Stena Line's HSS Service Sounds Good for Lady Gaga
#LADY GAGA– Stena Line's HSS Stena Explorer is set to return to Dun Laoghaire Harbour this Sunday, despite last Tuesday's end of season sailings to Holyhead, as previously reported on Afloat.ie. The HSS has been specially chartered in to transport…
End of High-Season Stena HSS Sailings
#FERRY NEWS- Stena Line's seasonal-only Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route run by the HSS Stena Explorer finished its last sailing today with a lunchtime departure bound for Anglesey. However the HSS service will return for twelve days over the Christmas / New…
Wind-Farm Proposal Requires No Isle of Man Shipping Re-routing
#MANX FERRY – A proposed extension to an offshore wind farm off Cumbria on the north-west coast of England will not require any re-routing of Isle of Man shipping lanes, say the developers. A Dong Energy spokesman said the 200-turbine…
Irish Ferries Operating Profits Remain Unchanged at €3.2m
#FERRY NEWS- The Irish Continental Group (ICG) ferries division, Irish Ferries has recorded no change in operational profits for the first six months of 2012, compared to the same period last year. According to its financial interim report, profit from…
Wilde Nights Cabaret with Oscar
#FERRY CABARET – Holiday makers taking peak sailings with Irish Ferries routes to France can enjoy the Wilde Nights Cabaret Show, on board the cruiseferry Oscar Wilde (1987/31,914grt), writes Jehan Ashmore. Irish Ferries will resume Mini Cruises on 27 August,…
Inaugural High-Season for Celtic Link Ferries Newcomer
#CELTIC LINK – Rosslare-Cherbourg operator Celtic Link Ferries which runs the Celtic Horizon (2006/27,522grt) on the 17 hour route, is operating her first high-season, since the 940-passenger ship was introduced last October, writes Jehan Ashmore. Celtic Link Ferries are the…
‘Girl of My Heart’ to Make a Fleeting Port of Call
#MANX FERRY - This busy August Bank Holiday weekend sees the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Ltd's larger ferry Ben-My-Chree (Manx for 'Girl of my Heart') make an overnight round-trip sailing to Dublin Port, rather than the smaller fast-ferry…
Irish Ferries Appoints New Head of Passenger Sales
#FERRY NEWS –Irish Ferries has appointed Dermot Merrigan as Head of Passenger Sales for Ireland, UK and France. Merrigan joined Irish Ferries 22  years ago and has extensive experience within the company's passenger business. Previously he held the posts of…
Ferry Firm and Port Reach Deal Over Fees
#FERRY NEWS – Celtic Link Ferries which operates on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route has reached an agreement with Rosslare Europort, to end a stalemate in over €100,000 relating to port landing fees. It comes after the port company recently lodged a…
Stena Line Record Uplift on Belfast-Birkenhead Route
#ROUTE BOOST- Since Stena Line took over the Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) route and two ro-pax ferries last summer, passenger figures have increased, according to PlaceNorthWest. In June 2012 volumes were up across all measures compared to the same month last year…
Stena Line Celebrate 50th Anniversary: Expanding Between Belfast and the Baltic
#STENA 50TH ANNIVERSARY – In this 50th anniversary year of Stena Line, the Swedish owned ferry operator has 19 routes stretching from Belfast to Scandinavia. This is set to further expand as Stena have secured approval by German competition authorities…
Highland Giants Head for the Causeway Coast
#SPONSORSHIP HIGHLAND GAMES – The venue of Glenarm Castle Estate on the stunning Antrim coast is where the P&O Ferries Dalriada Festival (13-14 July) is due to take place, writes Jehan Ashmore. For 14 years Glenarm has played host to…
Precision Timing as Freight Newbuild Completes Quartet
#FINAL FREIGHT-FERRY – Seatruck Precision has become the final newbuild of a quartet of ro-ro freight-only ferries to enter Irish Sea service for Seatruck Ferries, writes Jehan Ashmore. The 18,920 tonnes newbuild completed her maiden 'commercial' round-trip, departing Liverpool on…
Belfast Bids Farewell as Last Harland & Wolff built Irish Sea ‘Sealink’ Ferry Sets Sail
#FERRY DEPARTS FOR INDONESIA – An end of an era was marked this afternoon with the departure of the last passenger ship (including 'Sealink' car-ferry) built by Harland & Wolff, when Portlink, slipped down Belfast Lough, for the last time,…

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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